Special Reports

Bridge update: April 16, 2006

Construction this week on the new Tacoma Narrows bridge:

High winds forced spinning crews off the catwalks on two days last week, spoiling hopes that they would be able to finish work on the north main cable by April 14.

Instead, crews will continue spinning Monday, working on the final two strands – Nos. 18 and 19. They expect to finish those early in the week.

When strands 18 and 19 are finished, it will mark the end of the entire spinning operation, a major milestone. Crews then will begin compacting and banding the north cable strands and remove the cable tramway.

On the south cable, crews will continue hanging the suspender ropes, the braided steel cables that hang down vertically from the main cable and eventually will support the deck.

Meanwhile, road crews will continue construction of the new on-ramp to the bridge from 24th Street Northwest on the Gig Harbor side. That on-ramp will bypass the toll plaza and will be open only to vehicles with electronic transponders that automatically deduct tolls.

In that construction area, watch for flaggers this week both on 24th Street and Stone Drive. Traffic will be stopped periodically for heavy equipment building a new retaining wall and delivering fill dirt to raise the grade of the new ramp.

Rob Carson, The News Tribune